Study Confirms Clean Web Design is More Appealing to Customers

Some designers complain that all website look too neat and clean and has no style appeal for customers. Businesses tend to use clean, clutter-free and stylistically boring web designs to attract customers. A new study has confirmed once more that web users do prefer clean sites over visually overwhelming ones. New research presented by EyeQuant shows that customers are more drawn to “visually clean” websites that have more white space. Websites with simple designs like this have lower bounce rates than sites that are more visually complicated, EyeQuant concludes.

Now, it’s official. A simple web layout might be what your small business needs to increase customer interest. Here’s what Global Resources LLC consultants suggest for small businesses that want to design appealing websites based on the new findings:

Include Less Text – The study showed that customers preferred websites with less text, increasing the white space. Less text means customers can get an understanding of what the website offers without having to read paragraphs of marketing fluff. Therefore, use a headline and a subheading to quickly deliver what your website is about and attract potential customers.

Have One Big Image – Customers were not drawn to utterly boring websites with one or two lines and lots of blank space. Customers preferred websites that used one or two big images to add visual appeal. In the past, some designers believed that adding many pictures would increase the visual appeal of a site. This is clearly not the case anymore. Including one big picture is good for attracting new customers, and it’s also good for speeding up the loading time.

Avoid Overwhelming the Customer – The study’s authors think that cleaner web layouts are more appealing to consumers because modern customers are bombarded with online content on a daily basis. From tweets to Google ads, customers sometimes get conflicting messages intended to influence decision-making. Clean websites avoid overwhelming the customer in this manner. So, keep web layouts free of unwanted content.

Websites can be attractive and influential without having a complex layout. If you want more targeted advice on how to improve your company’s online sales, get in touch with us at GR-US.com.

Effective Ways to Optimize an Online Store

Online stores need constant reviews and upgrades to optimally attract traffic and drive conversions. Is your online store well designed to encourage people to buy things? Here are some suggestions from veteran Global Resources LLC consultants on how to optimize your website to increase profits:

Remove All Lags and Reduce Loading Time – The most important feature an e-store can have is ease of navigation. Customers won’t be able to easily navigate through an e-store if content takes forever to load. Therefore, do your best to keep loading time under 2 seconds. The faster the e-store is, the higher the conversion will be.

Show Images with People – Market research has actually shown that when online stores have images with people smiling or looking happy, the conversion rate increases compared to e-stores without. Customers follow visual cues more strongly than marketers believe. Therefore, make sure your online store has pictures of satisfied-looking customers to encourage conversions.

Feature Timely Products on the Homepage – Do not randomly select products to show on the homepage. It’s important that the featured products are highly timely. For example, if it’s the summer season, don’t feature insulated boots on the home page. Be aware of what customers need the most each given month. Also, pay attention to current events. If it’s going to start raining soon, you can show umbrellas, rain boots, and similar relevant products on the front page.

Keep Product Descriptions Factual and Simple – Do not include lengthy product descriptions because no one would take the time to read through. Follow the Amazon formula in this regard and show product information with bulleted short sentences. Lengthy details could be included at the bottom of the page for customers who are certain they want to buy the product. Short product descriptions can quickly make up the mind for a potential customer.

Offer Personalized Recommendations – Customers are more likely to purchase from an online store that offers personalized recommendations, and they are also more likely to return to a store that recommends products based on previous purchases. Therefore, online stores with personalization capabilities have higher conversion rates.

Is your marketing plan sufficient to increase your online store’s conversion rate? You can find out with one of our Global Resources Reviews. You can get a comprehensive analysis

What the Latest Trends are Revealing about Doing SEO in 2017

SEO campaigns should be updated at least once every year. Online search is undergoing significant changes due to the rise of new technologies and priorities of major search engine companies like Google. Our Global Resources LLC consultants occasionally find that small businesses stick to static SEO plans that are never updated in a timely manner. This could really hurt your business. To update your SEO plan to suit the changes the industry is seeing in 2017, there are several trends to be aware of:

Search is becoming highly mobile – Last year mobile and tablet users surpassed desktop users in web browsing. It was a major turning point that indicated search overall is leaning towards a mobile world. Google was quick to notice this trend and has already introduced mobile-first indexing. That means sites that are mobile responsive get priority when showing up on search results. Small businesses should therefore definitely pay attention to how mobile responsive their websites are.

Voice search is on the rise – Along with the use of mobile devices, more and more people are browsing the web with the assistance of voice search. That is, searches spoken to voice-controlled smart devices like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa. The main voice search programs currently in use are Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Home. When your company devises a new SEO plan next, voice search should be a priority.

Local search is becoming more important than ever – Because mobile search is on the rise, localized results are becoming more important. Google’s Possum update to its algorithm optimized how well users see local results. Therefore, your SEO strategy should involve the generous use of local keywords, phrases, and listings on local websites.

Video is becoming a premier content format – an online video is no longer an optional form of content. The video is becoming a core form of content, also thanks to mobile users. People are more prone to watching videos on their devices than to reading an article. Therefore, video content should not be overlooked in your marketing strategy.

Is your small business SEO plan made with the above in mind? If not, contact us at GR-US.com to update your plan with expert advice.

Is Your Brand Suffering from an Over Complicated Content Strategy?

Content preparation is one of the core aspects of modern day digital marketing. Small business brands often jump-start digital marketing plans with content. Some marketing plans suffer from lack of content. Then again, as experienced Global Resources LLC consultants point out, there are also marketing plans that suffer from too much content.

Overcomplicated content is the result of lack of vision in a marketing plan. Some managers insist on producing all manner of content and flooding the social media feeds to get the most clicks or views. But content doesn’t work that way. When the content the company produces lose focus, it ceases to be effective.

Here is a list of simple strategies to keep your company’s content marketing strategy from getting too complicated:

Have Focus Topics – Don’t produce articles on dozens of new topics. Your strategy will be most effective when the content is focused on one or two topics that interest the customers. Use content to establish your brand’s voice as an authority on a certain topic. It’s not enough to simply voice opinions on an array of topics.

Schedule Posts – Irregular posting will reduce the effectiveness of your content. It will also make your content delivery strategy a mess. Therefore, schedule posts in advance. You should consider convenience to the business, and also the time periods customers are most likely to respond to content. Use existing data you have on customers. For example, if your Twitter page gets most visits during noon every Wednesday, then schedule to post new content during that time slot to drive traffic.

Appoint an Employee Responsible for Content – A good content marketing plan is always overseen by an employee. Don’t make content production the second or third job of a sales or marketing manager. Separately appoint a content manager to oversee what’s getting published.

Decide on the Most Effective Types of Content – While it’s useful to produce various types of content, like video and blog posts, it’s more cost-efficient and effective to focus on content your customers respond to the most. If your customers prefer video tutorials, for example, produce more of those. But try to produce other content as well, but focus more effort on the preferred content.

Always keep in mind that content should embody good quality. Don’t aim to produce as much content as you can. Produce top-notch content that gets attention, shares, and likes. If you don’t know what to make of your current content marketing strategy, contact us at GR-US.com for some valuable insight.

How Instagram Keeps a British Nail Salon 100% Booked

Sharmadean Reid’s catchily titled WAH nail salon in London is always booked. And she has only one thing to thank for it: Instagram. Reid started her nail salon almost as a side project. Now it is one of the biggest in London with book deals and even partner shops popping up internationally. Global Resources LLC consultants examined how Instagram could make a tiny nail salon into such a major success.

We often find that small businesses use social media channels like Instagram just for the sake of it. Reid shows that savvy thinking and creativity can make a channel like Instagram a major real-life traffic generator for business. This is what Reid did that other small business can learn lessons from:

Choosing the Right Social Media Channel – Reid hit it big with Instagram largely because Instagram is the perfect social media channel for her business. Nail salon customers want to see photos of the products, not read about them. By choosing the biggest photo sharing site out there, Reid directly tapped into the heart of her target audience.

Publishing Posts with Personality – The photos WAH salon posts on their official Instagram account are not always professionally photographed. But each is packed with the unique personality the brand embodies.

Impressive Creativity – The photos are very artful and creative. It’s a strong indication that art really does pay off, so even other brands not involved in the arts sector can reap more benefits by hiring creative talent.

Showing Products in Real Life – The WAH salons nail art is not shown as marketing material, but as actual products in the customers’ hands. The salon posts pictures of finished nail art without adding any additional cause. There’s a realness to the pictures that customers can trust and be engaged with.

Getting the Customers Involved – The salon occasionally posts pictures of satisfied customers showing off their nail art. It definitely increases customer engagement.

If you want to build your brand in a similar manner, start rethinking the Instagram account in a creative way. Hire creative talent to your marketing team and think outside the box. Also, focusing strongly on the most relevant channels will also help. If you need more personalized advice, contact us at GR-US.com.

Alternatives to Patents to Protect Small Business Products or Services

Patents are considered essential by entrepreneurs to protect business ideas, products, or services. However, taking out a patent can cost thousands of dollars, and could sometimes take years to complete all the necessary legal documentation. Your patent could be challenged during the filing process as well. While patents are the best legal tool available to protect your small business’s intellectual property, there are several alternatives a company can consider as well. Read below for the alternatives to consider:

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs)—NDAs are commonly signed between employers and employees these days. An NDA is a legally binding agreement that two parties mutually agree to. By signing an NDA, the two parties agree not to share information with another third party. NDAs are often one way, where one party, like an employee, agrees not to share certain information with a third party. NDAs can have an expiration date, or not. NDAs without an expiration date offer the most protection.

Non-Compete Agreements (NCAs)—Global Resources LLC consultants often recommend NCAs to companies that are concerned about an employee or a similar individual from starting a similar business. An NCA can stop an individual from starting a business that could compete with or threaten your business. There are certain legal parameters to be met, however. If your small business is concerned about a former employee or a researcher taking your ideas to make money on their own, an NCA can prevent that.

Work-For-Hire Agreements (WFHs): A WFH is an agreement that allows businesses to hire outside parties to work on a product, but later retain all intellectual property rights to a product. If you hire a third party company or an individual to improve a product at your company, make them sign WFHs. That will prevent the third-party helpers from claiming patent or intellectual property rights to the product your company will ultimately profit from. It’s important to understand that some of the people that help need to be listed on patents when you seek one. But with a WFH, they will have no rights over your product.

You will need legal oversight and managerial assistance before considering the above alternatives to patents. If you need consultancy advice regarding protecting your company’s intellectual property, go to GR-US.com to find a consultant.

Business Management Titles Explained

A number of small businesses we review do not have a highly formal management structure. For some businesses, it’s common for the owner to handle many tasks relating to finances, employees, and scaling, so the formal business titles get conflated. When your small business grows and attracts more clients, it’s important to have a formal management structure to ensure productivity, efficiency, and more importantly, responsibility. Here is a list of explanations for the common management titles people encounter in businesses with explanations from a Global Resources LLC consultant:

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Most people already know what a CEO does. In a nutshell, the CEO is the chief strategist of the company who oversees everything. CEOs are responsible for hiring senior staff, authorizing the allocation of various resources, overseeing money matters, and essentially becoming the face of the company. The CEOs of small businesses are often the founders and owners of the companies.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) – The COO takes care of a company’s overall operations. The “operations” here will differ depending on the nature of the business. If the small business is a clothing store, for example, the COO will be the store manager. Some small businesses have CEO and the COO positions being held by the same person. But as the business expands, this would not be an ideal situation.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – This is the person who is responsible for all financial matters of the company, but reports to the CEO. It’s highly recommended for all small businesses to have a qualified CFO if the CEO is not experienced in financial management. A CFO is usually someone who has a degree in finances and really knows what they are doing.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) – This is a management title that’s popped up rather recently. Companies with large marketing strategies sometimes hire a senior manager to oversee all operations and manage the budget. Not all companies need a CMO, but it’s recommended to have a qualified marketing person overseeing the strategy.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO) – The CTO is not the IT guy. The CTO is a qualified manager who stays up to date on latest tech trends and finds ways for the company to adopt these trends. CTOs are responsible for keeping a business technologically advanced. If you run a tech-oriented small business, it’s recommended to hire a CTO.

When conducting Global Resources Reviews we often find that senior management is lacking a qualified financial manager or a CFO. Most small businesses do not have trouble handling day-to-day operations, but finances are another matter. You can contact us to find out how to properly structure your company’s senior management.

Are Print Ads Really Outdated?

The newspaper business is in turmoil and print advertisement revenue is down overall, or so you may have heard. The real situation is a slightly different. Newspapers are not exactly going out of business. Rather, the papers are struggling to turn a profit in the age of the Internet. Print ads revenue, however, has been on the decline for some time as print newspaper circulation has declined. Does this mean that small businesses should no longer bother with advertising in newspapers and magazines? Not quite, say our Global Resources LLC expert consultants.

The cardinal rule of marketing is optimally using channels that offer the best returns for the investment. A company should never judge the usefulness of any advertising channel on generic factors alone. A soda company might find that placing print ads in papers is no longer directly in demand as it once did before the rise of digital journalism. However, a local realtor might find the situation exactly the opposite. Whether print ads can benefit your small business, or not, depends on the nature of your small business.

The advertising power of print ads is measured against the power of online ads like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. Google Ads, for example, has the power to deliver your marketing message to millions around the world. That’s only the potential. Whether your marketing message actually reaches the intended audience is another matter. If your small business markets to an international audience, a channel like Google can be extremely lucrative if the right parameters for distribution are chosen. On the other hand, if the target audience for your small business is domestic, then Google may not deliver good results as you might think.

For example, a small town rental business can easily reach the target audience by advertising in local papers. If the rental business wants to reach outsiders, like tourists, then a channel like Google can be used. It’s best to utilize both channels to enjoy the best return on investment.

It’s also important to understand the audience for the newspaper or the magazine. Who reads the print medium? Most local folk would read the local newspaper. Niche audiences will read special print mediums like magazines. Print ads can still be quite powerful if your target audience overlaps with that of the print media. Print ads also work best with certain age groups, like the elderly, that are not quite tech savvy as the younger generations.

Therefore, don’t be too quick to dismiss print ads. If you want to find out if your business can benefit from print ads, ask us at GR-US.com.

Where Does Small Business Marketing Content Stand in the Age of Fake News?

The news has been rife lately with stories about “fake” news. Social media sites have definitely gotten on the defensive against “fake news.” So what exactly is it? Fake news doesn’t have an agreed upon definition, but the term largely refers to any online content that deliberately contains inaccuracies or factual errors intended to mislead the reader or the viewer.

Fake news has been a particular menace for social media sites. Facebook and Twitter, especially, have taken rather significant measures to battle fake news. Facebook and Google both are on the warpath to make sure web users have access only to accurate information that would not lead them astray.

How Fake News Is Changing the Face of Content

Facebook announced a while back that the social network would ban “clickbait” headlines that present highly misleading information to get a user to click. Likewise, the company upgraded its algorithm once more this year to weed out content that ensnares users with, well, lies. Google has taken a similar approach as well and has been for some time. The search engine actively blacklists sites that may contain suspicious links that could be considered spam. The Google algorithm is now sophisticated enough to distinguish between well-written content and just plain bad content.

The purpose of all these efforts is to improve user experience and give users access to authentic content. This definitely impacts how marketing content is distributed across the web.

What It Means for Digital Marketing

Global Resources LLC consultants warn that digital marketers should be aware of the changes coming to online content. Unlike before, social media sites and search engines are looking for content that is produced according to higher quality standards. This means that content should be free of errors, well written, and looks and sounds natural.

Digital content producers should, therefore, focus efforts on creating quality content, not more content. Considering how big internet brands are taking a stand against fake news, marketers should focus extra attention on the accuracy of the content produced as well. Be mindful of sources, and make sure not to repeat anything that could hurt your brand online.

The Next Steps Forward for Digital Marketers

Digital content producers should focus efforts on creating varied and long-lasting content. Invest more in few, top notch pieces of content instead of going for loads of cheap ones. Consider producing videos as well as articles. Above all, make sure content is never misleading or poorly written.

A company review could show whether your small business marketing strategy can live up to new unofficial content standards. Visit GR-US.com for more information on how we can help you improve your business.

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of Facebook’s Latest Feature

Facebook will soon make a new feature available for all its users across all devices. This newest feature of the world’s largest social network will let users find free Wi-Fi spots nearby using the social network. It’s a business savvy move from Facebook. Users are connecting to the social network mainly using mobile devices in both developing and developed markets. And mobile users are always in search of good Wi-Fi connections.

While this feature seems rather innocuous on Facebook’s part, it may soon have a major impact on small businesses, especially ones with brick and mortar stores, Global Resources LLC consultants say. When consumers can look up Wi-Fi spots on Facebook, they will always be on the move looking for the best connections. No one is going to stay at a place with a bad connection. For Facebook, this means users can use the network more and for longer. For users, this means they can easily find the best Wi-Fi connections.

For small businesses, this means providing good Wi-Fi connections and web services should be a priority. There will most likely be advertising implications too. The company could show certain ads only on Wi-Fi connected devices. Also, better connections mean small business owners should be mindful of speed and performance of a website. Google already filters search results based on page load speed. Facebook, likewise, might do something similar in the future.

Consultants with GR-US.com, therefore, advise small business owners to do the following to benefit from the upcoming changes:

Upgrade the Business Wi-Fi Package: If your company connection is available to guests or customers, it may be time to upgrade it. The speedier the connection is, the more customers your business will attract with the new Facebook tool.

Get Site Speed Up: Use tools like Google PageSpeed to monitor the speeds of sites in all your company’s domains. The speeds should be able to compete with the sites on top of the search results. A site should get a Google speed rank of at least 70 to keep users engaged.

Use a Caching Plugin: Caching plugins speed up websites. You can buy one or download a free one for your sites.

Avoid Large Multimedia Files: Do no upload huge video or image files that take forever to load. Use compressed and minimized file formats.

It’s very important for small businesses to keep up with new changes in the social media and internet sphere. Use the above recommendations to stay on top of upcoming Facebook changes.